Learn about fundamental principles that lead to trust and top performance and discover how to infuse timeless truths into your teams and organization.

Trust is at the heart of effective relationships—this is clear. But what is less clear is how to build the trust that leads to top performance. Until now.

In the first post of this top-performing teams series, we said that building trust begins with integrity and the fundamental principles behind it.  Another word for these fundamental principles or timeless truths is virtues—admirable qualities, features or traits.  Virtues can be thought of as falling into two categories: (1) individual, and (2) social.

Social virtues emerge in situations that involve two or more people.  Examples of social virtues include dependability, generosity, fairness, courtesy, speaking the truth tactfully, encouragement, and righting wrongs.

Individual virtues, in contrast, do not require social settings.  For example, honesty can be manifested regardless of whether someone is in the presence of others or not.  Individual virtues include having a positive attitude, guarding one’s thoughts and feelings from negative influences, striving for excellence, having self discipline, and learning from mistakes.

Strengthening integrity at work begins with educating people about the fundamental principles that lead to trust and strong relationships.  Helping teams identify their social virtues that are most developed will enable them to leverage those strengths.  Reflecting upon their social virtues that are less developed can help teams select new approaches to try.

Given that teams consist of individuals, integrity building involves helping people recognize and further develop timeless truths in themselves and others.  Once the value of fundamental principles becomes clear and people choose to build a strong foundation based on them, specific attitudes about how best to work together will emerge and, in turn, motivate new behaviors.  And, of course, new behaviors are necessary to move a team toward top performance.

What does integrity building look like for you?  Whether you’re a COO, CMO, CHRO or CVO, you can guide your teams and organization toward identifying their more and less developed virtues and choosing new behaviors to try.

For informal work relationships that may not readily lend themselves to discussions of work climates based on fundamental principles, you can infuse timeless truths in other ways; for example, communicating your work style, role modeling, or influencing interactions by your example and responses.  In short, influence depends on the quality of relationships, and quality relationships depend on individual and social virtues.

You can serve as a role model.  And if you want to influence your teams and organization toward top performance, anything less than setting an example of utmost integrity will cause them to fall short of what they are capable of becoming.

To see how your team compares to top-performing teams on the fundamental principles behind top performance, click here to participate in our latest study and receive a free team profile.

Action items:

  • Think about the virtues that you bring and communicate to your teams and organization—how do these enhance their performance?
  • Ask yourself which additional virtues might make your teams and organization even better


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